Dr. John Manning house, North Main Street, Ipswich

36 North Main Street, the Dr. John Manning house (1769)

The John Manning House at 36 North Main Street was built in 1769 by Dr. John Manning (1738-1824). It has one of the first preservation agreements in Ipswich, created by the Ipswich Heritage Trust and now administered by the Ipswich Historical Commission.

Manning was a pioneer in the development of a smallpox vaccine. When he drove his chaise to Boston to bring his sister-in-law back to the safety of Ipswich on the day of the Battle of Bunker Hill he was allowed to enter Boston by first agreeing to treat British casualties of the battle. After returning to Ipswich with his sister-in-law, he spent that evening collecting medical supplies from Ipswich residents and then returned to treat casualties from both sides for seven weeks.

Dr. Manning was also an inventor and built an unsuccessful wind-driven woolen mill on the site of the present Caldwell Block next to the Choate Bridge. The mill at the Willowdale Dam, funded by his son Dr. Thomas Manning was more successful.

Dr. Manning was of course a member of the First Church, where his family occupied a pew assigned to the highest-ranking members of town. In about the year 1801, attendance at the church was languishing, and it was about this time that the violin, flute and bass-viol appeared in service. Thomas Franklin Waters wrote that Dr. Manning “manifested his displeasure at the worldly innovation by leaving his pew, while the orchestra played, and danced up and down the broad aisle, much to the mortification of the elder worshipers, but to the great delight of the youth and the lighter minded.”

36 North Main Street, the Dr. John Manning house 1940
Historic American Buildings Survey Frank O. Branzetti, Photographer, 1940
36 North Main Street, the Dr. John Manning house
Historic American Buildings Survey Thomas T. Waterman, Photographer 1936
The Dr. John Manning house, late 20th Century
The Dr. John Manning house, late 20th Century from MACRIS site
Dr. John Manning built the mill at the corner of Market and South Main Streets, which predated the Caldwell building.
Dr. John Manning built the mill which predated the Caldwell Building at the corner of Market and South Main Streets. By 1867, the first “woolen manufactory” erected with such high hopes by Dr. Manning in 1793 was now the very business-like Coburn Block. The building burned to the ground in 1869, and the town’s merchants wasted no time in immediately erecting the present Caldwell Block.

Documents and Sources

  • Biography of John Manning
  • Dr. John Manning House, 36 North Main Street Preservation Agreement (Ipswich Heritage Trust, assigned to Ipswich Historical Commission)

Biography of Dr. John Manning (4)

The Genealogical and Biographical History of the Manning Families of New England
By William Henry Manning

86 JOHN MANNING Joseph Thomas Richard bap 1738 Nov 12 at Ipswich Mass He studied medicine under his father’s direction and then commenced practice at the age of twenty at Newmarket NH. After one year he returned to Ipswich where he resided and practiced the remainder of his life. As there were no medical colleges or hospitals in America at that day, Dr. Manning at the age of thirty three and after some twelve years of active practice crossed the ocean to perfect his medical education in England.

Returning to this country, 1772 May 8, after a course of six months training in the hospitals and lecture rooms of London, his practice soon became extensive. On the 19th of April 1775 the day of the battle of Lexington he drove to Boston to bring his sister Mrs. McKean to Ipswich. When near Boston he overtook a British officer severely wounded, to whom he freely gave the medical attention which he greatly needed. For this humane act the officer gave Dr. Manning a pass which enabled him to enter Boston and depart with his sister. He arrived at Ipswich at night, aroused his family, and when he had collected such articles as he knew would be needed hastened to the relief of those wounded in the battle, giving to his suffering countrymen such aid as his skill and medicine could accomplish. His grandson Joseph Bolles Manning Esq. is authority for the further statement that when this was done he assisted the British surgeons in caring for their wounded and by his direction, both parties of wounded were removed to Cambridge, where he attended six weeks until they were discharged. This was on his part an early application of the doctrine, since common to all civilized nations, that in the presence of those suffering after battle all partisan feeling should be forgotten. Later in the war he served as surgeon at Newport RI.

In 1777 he strongly advocated inoculation for the prevention of small pox which caused so much opposition and hostility that for a time it is said his life seemed in danger. He was active in business enterprises. He bought and sold real estate outside of his own county, having transactions of this kind in Worcester Co Mass, Hillsborough Co NH, and Cumberland Co Me. In 1788 he with others made proposals to the Legislature for taking the poor of the Commonwealth which were in the almshouse at Boston and removing them to Ipswich, where with the selectman of that town to act as overseers; the projectors of the plan would supply them with lodging, good wholesome food, medical attendance etc. for three fourths of the then present expense. A paper was drawn up by the House to accept the proposal, but shows no sign of having been acted upon, House Document 2640. Ten years later, however, the doctor petitioned for the payment of expenses which he had incurred, because by direction of the selectmen of Ipswich he had during the past year supported several of the poor of the Commonwealth, proving that his plan had in some degree been carried into effect.

The Acts and Resolves of Massachusetts for 1790 show that he petitioned for payment of certain dues from the Commonwealth to enable and encourage him to carry on a woolen manufactory at Ipswich. The State agreed to pay from its treasury the interest due him on the State notes he held in his own name, and so much of the principal as should amount with the interest to £1,000, he first giving bond that the £1,000 should be within one year employed in a woolen manfactory in Ipswich. Whether this official action was satisfactory and was accepted has not been learned, but the enterprise was consummated. In 1792 the town of Ipswich granted Dr. Manning land for the erection of the factory. This was perhaps the first woolen mill in the country. It stood upon the bank of the river and was run by a windmill. It was a two storied building about 60 x 30 feet and was at the foot of the hill at the northwest corner of Choate Bridge. The structure now on the site is called Caldwell’s Block. On the end of the building away from the bridge was a signboard about 5 x 23 feet with Massachusetts Woolen Manufactory painted upon it, this being the name by which it was known. Blankets and flannels were made at the factory which went into operation in 1794, but the enterprise was not a success and it was closed in 1800. The doctor’s son Capt. Richard Manning was superintendent of the mill and his pattern book is now in the possession of Mr. Francis H. Manning. Dr Manning’s hospitality was widely known. The house he built on High street Ipswich, still standing, was constructed with a view to indulging this characteristic. The partitions of the lower story were hung upon hinges at the ceiling so that they could be raised, thus making one room of the hall and the rooms on each side.

As an illustration of this hospitable proclivity, his grandson Richard H. Manning related this incident: “Dr. Manning was riding one summer afternoon about 1818 toward Hamilton when he met a Company of Horse known as the Salem Troop. Drawing up before the captain, whom he saluted as only he could do it, for he was an exceedingly courteous gentleman stately and venerable withal, he invited the Company to ride on to his house in Ipswich and take supper with him. The invitation being accepted, the doctor turned his horse and rode back to Ipswich at the head of the Troop, which soon drew up in front of the mansion on Pudding street now High street. This was the first intimation the family had of the intended feast, and I, a shaver of eight or nine years was dispatched to all the neighbors for spoons and cooked food to eke out the entertainment.”

Dr. Manning was elected representative from Ipswich 1781, 82, 84, 87, 89, 92 and 94 or a total of nine years. His skill and experience rendered him for a long time eminent in the medical profession; all publications dealing with his county mention this fact. He had his own opinions upon politics and religion and was fond of power and resolute in carrying out his purposes. His character was marked by unvarying courtesy, a broad charity and great kindness of heart. In person he was tall and slender. His dress sword descended through the family of his eldest son and was presented about 1890 by his grandson James Manning to the latter’s nephew Dr. Joseph Manning, and was by Dr. Joseph given to his own grandson, John Manning 578.

Dr. John Manning married at Ipswich 1760 Nov 27 Lucy, daughter of Charles and Lucy Kimball Bolles and granddaughter of Joseph and Lucretia Derby Bolles, b 1742 Apr 5 and d 1817 Aug 23. Dr Manning d 1824 Oct 25 at Ipswich A family record says Oct 24. Felt’s Ipswich says Oct 19.

Children born at Ipswich:

  • 159 JOHN b 1761 Oct 19,
  • 160 LUCY b 1763 Jan 3 d 1791 June 6 at Topsfield She married 1787 Oct 6 Nehemiah Cleveland
  • 161 LUCRETIA b 1765 Mch 23
  • 162 JOSEPH b 1767 Mch 7
  • 163 ELIZABETH b 1769 Sep 26 d unm 1794 June 17 at Gloucester
  • 164 THOMAS b 1775 Feb 7
  • 165 RICHARD b 1777 Jan 9
  • 166 SARAH b 1779 Mch 10
  • 167 PRISCILLA ABBOTT b 1781 Aug 4 d unm 1843 May 3 in Brooklyn NY
  • 168 MARY twin b 1781 Aug 4
  • 169 ANSTICE b 1784 Aug 3 d unmarried, 1809 Apr 12 at Ipswich

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s